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03 Jul 2024

Evidence & Policy Call for Papers – Special Issue on Research (Mis)use and Mis/Disinformation in and around Education

Mis- and dis-information are growing problems world-wide, corrupting trust and engagement in consumer markets, media, politics, and other institutions. This issue is particularly concerning for research-driven areas that involve public policy. Education is a prime area. Not only do education policymakers seek ‘research-based’ policy, but schools themselves, while subjected to false information campaigns, are also uniquely suited as institutions that have the capacity to counter misinformation by providing fact-based learning and critical thinking skills.

Yet as a contentious area permeated by public and private interests, education has seen more than its share of mis- and dis-information, whether that be campaigns against particular curricula, mis-interpretation or mis-representation about schools’ effectiveness, attacks on non-existent practices such as the teaching of critical race theory, or false claims that schools are catering to students who identify as ‘furries’. While many such campaigns undercut public attitudes about public schools, they often serve to advance agendas for particular private interests seeking to eradicate or refashion public schools. Often, efforts to push false narratives marginalise or supplant actual research expertise with alternative sources of ‘research’ and ‘facts’.

This special issue of Evidence & Policy will focus on the topic of research use and abuse in and around education, specifically aiming to better understand causes, consequences, and remedies. We seek a range of papers that examine the multiple ways evidence is leveraged in education policy — not only ‘used’, but also the mis-use of evidence, from neglect and poorly understood to outright disinformation. Broadly, we are interested in articles that can contribute to understanding in one of three main areas in relation to research (mis)use and mis/disinformation in education:

1. Causes (or Contributors) — e.g., analyses focused on:

  • historical context and precedents
  • actors and networks in the education landscape
  • political economy, network ethnography, policy sociology analyses of evidence/knowledge
  • analyses of the role of knowledge brokers and intermediaries
  • analyses of new and social media as a cause or contributor
  • analyses or comparative analyses of research (mis)use within or across topic areas or within/across contexts
  • evidence in education: supply-side or demand-side analysis

2. Consequences — e.g., analyses focused on:

  • teachers’ experiences or challenges in relation to research (mis)use and/or misinformation
  • educational leaders’ (e.g., principals’ or superintendents’) experiences with and navigation of misinformation in their local communities/jurisdictions
  • impacts on students
  • politicians’ and policymakers’ exposure to and responses to mis- and disinformation
  • examinations of effects of research (mis)use or misinformation on teaching, learning, policy, discourse, public perceptions of education, etc.

3. Remedies—e.g., analyses focused on:

  • successful interventions to reduce research (mis)use and/or to navigate mis/disinformation
  • contexts in which specific strategies have been put into place
  • social, policy, and/or legal remedies

Deadline: Interested authors should send a 300-word abstract to Special Issue Editors Dr Joel Malin (malinjr@miamioh.edu) and Dr Chris Lubienski (clubiens@iu.edu) by 30 September 2024. Invitations for full paper submissions will be sent in mid-October, and full papers will be due by April 2025.

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